LIFE OF CHRIST

 

Matthew 15:21-28

MAKING A GOOD THING BETTER

LIFE OF CHRIST #30

 

Faith is a good thing.

1.     It is required for eternal life. John 3:36    

2.     It is required to please God. Hebrews 11:6

3.     It is required for our prayers to be answered. Mark 11:24

4.     It is required for living the Christian Life. Colossians 2:6

 

Faith is a good thing that can be made better.

 

Colossians 2:6-7 - As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: [7] Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

 

James 1:3-4 - Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. [4] But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

 

This week we meet a Gentile woman with a sick daughter.

Jesus takes a good thing, her faith, and makes it better.

This woman teaches us what to do for our faith to be strengthened when it is being tested.

 

Vs. 21 - It was rest time. It was a withdrawal for a short time, from the hostility of the Jewish leaders.  Jesus went into Gentile territory.  This is the region around two large cities on the Mediterranean Sea.  This was an area you might have heard referred to as Phoenicia. Today it is known as southern Lebanon. This was the first time in Jesus ministry in which he actually entered pagan territory.

 

Mark 7:24 - And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid.

 

Because it was rest time, the Lord Jesus did not want anyone to know that He was there. But notice that Jesus could not be hid. There were so many needs, so many people seeking Jesus, that humanly speaking, there was no hiding Him.

 

Vs. 22 – Now comes this woman of Canaan, a Gentile woman.  She has some faith, for she calls him “Son of David”. She recognizes that He is Israel’s Messiah, or King. She wants Jesus to heal her daughter who is grievously possessed by a demon.   

 

Now, from this woman, we learn how to take a good thing, faith, and make it better.

 

BE ASKING

 

Vss. 22-23 – It is the man or woman of faith who asks God for things and expects an answer. This woman came to Jesus with her request.

 

He did not answer her. He was silent.

 

Why was Jesus silent?  He was probably silent because His ministry at the moment was centered on the Jewish Nation.

I feel there is another reason Jesus was silent.

I believe that Jesus was testing her faith, making it stronger. This challenged her to continue making her request known to the Lord.

 

Matthew 7:7-8 - Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: [8] For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

 

We are to be continually bringing our concerns to the Lord in prayer.

 

She was so persistent in her asking that the disciples wanted her sent away because she was bugging them. Like this woman, we should make our faith better by continually asking.

 

BE REVERENT – Vss. 24-25

 

Jesus answers the disciples, probably in hearing range of this woman, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

 

Jesus was not in Israel at the time.

The woman asking for help was of a race that Israel was to have nothing to do with, the Canaanites.

 

Jesus certainly cared about the woman.

Jesus certainly cared about those who were not Jews.

 

However during Jesus’ earthly ministry he was sent to minister to his own people. When Jesus sent the disciples on preaching missions, He told them to go to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel”. (Matthew 10:6)

 

After Jesus died for the sins of the whole world and rose from the dead He sent the disciples to the whole world declaring the Gospel.

 

This woman still didn’t turn away.

She came to Him and worshipped Him!

 

This woman showed reverence to her Lord.

I personally think that all too often you and I get so wrapped up in our problems that we fail to worship God.

 

When we sing on Sunday Morning it is to be a time of worship. Psalm 100:1-2

When we come to God in prayer during the week, it should be a time of worship. Psalm 34:1

 

How can we say we trust Him as God, if we do not worship Him as God?

The more our faith is tested the more we should be drawn to worship Him who is our only Hope!

 

BE DESPERATE – Vs 25

   

Vs. 25 – Notice the poor, humble cry of this woman, “Lord, help me!”

   

She was desperate.

She had no other hope.

She had no alternate plan “B”.

She knew that if Jesus didn’t do it, it wouldn’t happen.

 

I don’t feel that you and I have learned to be desperate in our prayers.

 

It is the desperate person who will persist in prayers.

In Luke 11 Jesus tells a parable about the person who persisted to ask his neighbor for bread at midnight, because he was desperate to entertain visitors. If visitors were not entertained, it was a black mark against the person and his village. He was desperate, so he kept asking until the man got up and gave him what he needed. In Luke 11, Jesus went on to challenge his listeners to believing, persistent prayer.

 

The more desperate you are, the more you will rely on the Lord and Him only to solve your problem.

If you are desperate, you’ll keep before Him until He answers.

Let me add one word of caution. Please remember that all that we want is not all that the Lord wants. Sometimes the Lord will gently tell us “no” for some good reason. But until He does, let’s keep on asking.

 

BE HUMBLE – Vss. 26-27

 

Vs. 26 – Jesus tells this woman that you don’t take the children’s food off the table and give it to the household puppies.

 

Jesus is not calling the woman “a Gentile dog”, as the Jews often did.

He was just explaining that the food, His ministry, was intended for Israel, and was not yet to be taken away from them and given to the Gentiles.

 

Vs. 27 – Notice the woman’s humility here. She didn’t take offense. She agreed with the Lord!

 

You’re telling the truth, Lord, but even the puppies are allowed crumbs from off the table.

We used to have cats that loved table scraps.  They would get the crumbs, or things that fell on the floor.

 

The woman humbles herself to admit that she doesn’t deserve anything.  However, she wonders if the Lord could spare a few “crumbs” and answer her request.

 

Many would have been insulted, but not this woman. She knew her place.

 

Do we know ours?

Do we realize that we deserve no answers in prayer?

We have nothing and have done nothing to deserve God’s answers.

 

Do we realize that in the only way we can expect our prayers to be answered is when we come and pray in Jesus’ name? John 14:13-14

 

If we expect Jesus to do it and not ourselves, we are certainly humbling ourselves.

Yes we must do what He tells us to do, but we must depend on Him!

   

BE CONFIDENT – Vs. 28

 

“Oh woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt.”

This woman’s faith was a confident faith.

It had been tested, but now it was triumphant!

God took a good thing, and made it better!

 

BE COMFORTED!

 

Jesus told her that she had her wish.

And surely she did.

Her daughter was healed.

 

Can you imagine the woman’s relief?

My friend, it is those who have their faith tested, who persist in prayer, that see Jesus answer, and are comforted by His promises to answer.

Take a good thing, and make it better!

First, make sure you have faith in Jesus Christ. Then,

 

BE ASKING

BE REVERENT

BE DESPERATE

BE HUMBLE

BE CONFIDENT

BE COMFORTED.

 

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